Snow Day Stew

Yesterday the snow gods decided to dump almost a foot of snow on Annapolis.  In anticipation of our urban captivity we decided to make a stew!  And not just any stew!  Flemish stew, made with delicious Belgian Beer!  Or if you speak French, Carbonade Flamande.

What else were we supposed to do?  “Telecommute?”

We had several variations of this stew on our Tour de Trappe and it’s definitely the perfect food for a cold snowy day.

After scouring the internets for an authentic recipe, I settled on this.  This recipe is designed for a slow cooker, but because I was home all day, I just cooked it on the stove.  I never miss a chance to whip out the Le Creuset!  Because I cooked it differently, here’s the stove top recipe.  And don’t forget, the key to this recipe is dark, delicious Belgian Beer.  The broth is almost entirely made of beer, so if you skimp the stew just won’t taste good…and everyone will hate you.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups dark Belgian Beer (we used Ommegang Dubbel)
  • 5 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 whole sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 (1/2-inch thick) slices day-old country bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used a baguette, it worked)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

1. Cut up meat into 1 1/2 inch cubes.  Pat dry.

2. Heat 2 TBSPs butter in heavy pot on Med heat.  Unless you have a giant pot, you’ll have to brown the beef in batches…don’t remove the excess liquid between batches, just add another TBSP or two of butter before you brown the next batch; if you crowd the beef, it won’t brown as well (my large dutch oven handled it in two batches).  After the meat browns on most sides, remove it and set it aside in a large bowl, leaving the cooking liquids in the pot.

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3.  Turn heat to Med/Low, add flour, salt, and pepper to the empty pot.  Stir until cooking juices are absorbed.  Your flour will turn into a paste.  Once it’s a paste, remove it and put it in the bowl with the cooked beef.

4. Return heat to Med, add 1 cup of beer.  Stir and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.

5. Add cooked beef, flour paste, remaining 2 cups of beer, onions, garlic, brown sugar, mustard, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves.  Stir until combines, then cover and simmer on low for 6 hours (or until onions have dissolved and you’re left with a dark brown liquid).

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6.  Add bread, continue to simmer covered on low for 2-3 hours.  When the meat is tender and the liquid is thick, it’s ready to serve!  Garnish with chopped parsley if you so desire.

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